Cyberbullying Prevention: 3 Educators Share Their Stories
With the rise of technology, cyberbullying is now unfortunately more common than ever. But, there are always ways to combat this, one student or teacher at a time!
Cyberbullying: A Growing Digital Citizenship Concern
As seen in the chart below from our Global State of Digital Learning Survey for 2018, a study of over 9,000 education professionals, cyberbullying was the second highest rated digital citizenship concern at 21.7%.
This just echoes the idea that although social media and the internet have positively transformed teaching and learning, there’s still work to be done in this area.
Educators like yourselves know this concern all too well since you’re the ones witnessing it, reporting it, and trying to stop it.
We know that every school and district has their own set of rules and procedures, but we thought it was important to hear first-hand stories from educators experiencing it. From monitoring social media access to creating “digital portfolios,” there are a variety of ways to take part in cyberbullying prevention.
Cyberbullying Through the Eyes of a Director of Instructional Technology, Band Director, and Teacher
Jeremy Mahoney | Director of Instructional Technology | Springfield Platteview Community Schools
“One thing we are attempting this year, is that we are trying to address all Digital Citizenship topics such as Cyberbullying during our Advisory Period time. We have created a Schoology Class that contains all of the age appropriate Common Sense Media Lessons. Here the students are able to turn in worksheets and video answers about what they are discussing. This will serve as a ‘Digital Portfolio’ for the students that either they or administration could look back on if they ever are involved in a a cyberbullying incident.”
Brian Bruggeman | Band Director | Monroe Middle School
“My school uses a filter in our 1:1 Chromebook environment, virtually eliminating social media access during the school day. Further, according to school policy, the student’s personal devices should be off and left in their lockers during the day. These two features prevent most cyber-bullying during the school day. However, the primary way I try to prevent cyberbullying is by creating a positive and welcoming culture in my classroom. One way that I am attempting to curtail cyberbullying in my classroom is by focusing on including all of the students in my class. By doing this I am endeavoring to provide the students with the knowledge that someone is listening to them and respecting them. Nonetheless, when I hear students being negative towards each other, I attempt to redirect their thinking. Recently, I have been amazed by one set of students that I work with and their ability to be encouraging toward each other. The beautiful thing is that through their example, I have been sharing what a great trait it is to support others and develop each other’s potential.”
Michael Cabral | Teacher | Cincinnati Public Schools
“One way to avoid or prevent cyberbullying in my classroom is to model positive ways to use social media. Whenever we discuss social media in the classroom, I try to present ways that I use social media, whether that is showing students my Teacher Twitter account, giving them tips and ideas about using social media in my classroom, discouraging bad use of social media, or promoting positive uses of social media in the classroom.
One way I have addressed cyberbullying after it has happened is to first report it to my administrator if I believe it has not been dealt when I have encountered it. Otherwise, I have a private discussion with students about how it is inappropriate, not wise, or could hurt the lives and futures of themselves, others, or anyone involved in the situation. Teenagers rarely think beyond the moment, and it is a hard lesson for them to learn that small decisions on social media can have long lasting consequences.”
How Can You Help? Tips from The Schoology Twitter Community
After seeing the helpful responses from these 3 educators, and many more who answered this question, we decided to turn to our Twitter Community and get their view on cyberbullying prevention. They shared helpful tips on how to prevent cyberbullying in the classroom in a world where students are surrounded by social media and the internet.
Here’s what they had to say:
Giving them opportunities with discussions as often as possible so they can express opinions, disagree with people in an academic, safe environment. If we don't do it in schools, it won't happen any where else.
— Eric Chamberlin (@cvagrad86) November 17, 2018
Words from your lips & words from a keyboard are the same. If it isn’t kind to say “in real life” then it def isn’t appropriate to type. Such a HUGE concept for my 2nd graders! We try to link “real life” actions to “cyber life” so they can see the connection. pic.twitter.com/u22hzwJ0RY
— Dina Dreistadt (@dina_dreistadt) November 16, 2018
I share my residual (and embarrassing) social media presence! They just need a real life example of how nothing on the internet ever goes away!
— Alissa Warren (@MsWarrenELA) November 17, 2018
As an educator, it’s important to stay aware of situations that may involve cyberbullying. We hope that this gave you some ideas to implement in your own classroom or district, and gets you thinking about what steps you can take towards cyberbullying prevention.
Do you have your own strategy for preventing cyberbullying or tackling it when it does happen? Share it with us so we can help spread the word! Let us know on Twitter @Schoology.